The children of the family involved in the application, both girls, were aged 7 and almost 5, at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. Until December 1994 they had lived exclusively in Scotland. The parents were married and had joint rights of custody. However, on 21 December 1994 they entered into an agreement as to the care of the children.
In accordance with the agreement the father took the girls to live with him in France. In early April 1995 they went to England to visit the paternal grandmother. On 12 April the mother was permitted contact with the girls, but, she did not return them as arranged to the paternal grandmother’s home and instead took them to Scotland.
The agreement entered into by the parties provided for the arrangements to be reviewed after six months. While in France the girls attended school, participated in local social events and steps had been taken to arrange medical care for them locally.
On 18 July 1995 the Outer House dismissed the return petition on the basis that the girls were not habitually resident in France.
On 24 October 1995 the Inner House ruled that the children were habitually resident in France.
On 9 February 1996 the Outer House ordered the return of the girls; the standard required under Articles 13(1)(b) and 13(2) had not been met. The mother did not comply with the order and went into hiding with the children.
On 10 July 1996 the Outer House ordered the mother to deliver the girls into the custody of the father in order to be returned to France. This order was made on the understanding that a French court was ready to regulate in a substantive manner the arrangements for the girls.
On 12 July 1996 the Outer House made an order to obtain information as to the whereabouts of the children.
Subsequently, the Tribunal de Grande Instance at Angoul?me dismissed the father’s application on the ground that the substantive question of where the children should live had already been determined by the Scottish courts.
The mother then petitioned the Outer House that the order of 10 July 1996 be rescinded.